August 24th, 2016
Excuse me, is anyone there? I’m lost…I was walking in the forest, then suddenly this bright light appeared. The next thing I knew I woke up in a canyon and wandered my way into this town. Hello? Anyone? Someone please answer. What happened here? Where am I? That house looks like it was ripped right out of the ground. Am I dreaming? What’s REALLY going on here?
You have been abducted by some kind of “seed” like alien being. A bright glow flew across the sky, drawing you in, leaving you to wake up alone on some alien world with an old western town in front of you. As you explore and solve puzzles, more things begin to come clear that this isn’t some utopia as the various holograms state, but instead a prison. You’ll have to solve puzzles and unravel the mystery to understand what exactly happened to you and this town in a very Myst like fashion.
The gameplay in Obduction is wonderful. If you are a fan of open-world puzzle adventure games like Myst, Riven, and more recently titles like The Witness, you’ll enjoy the gameplay here. I played for about 3 hours in VR on the HTC Vive and didn’t experience any motion sickness at all. The controls were actually extremely intuitive, and really the only issue I had is there are a couple areas that I felt a small performance issue, which in VR is a nightmare. I’ll get more into that when I discuss the graphics and visuals, but I wanted to note that I have quite a few hours in with VR, then played a new file from the start on PC with ultra-settings in my gameplay testing.
You need to explore everything in this kind of game, and if there was ever a time to use the term “walking simulator,” this would be it. But to me, walking-simulator isn’t a negative thing. The world here is full of places to explore, and though fairly opened up to you, I never felt lost or unsure of where to go for too long which is important, but I also felt challenged and puzzled in what steps were needed to unlock new areas.
Outside of that, I don’t want to spoil too much, but the storyline and gameplay is fantastic for what I’ve played thus far. I plan to play this in full on stream at Beam.pro/WeiseGamer, so if you’re interested you can watch me there.
Moving into visuals, I touched on this some already but the game is gorgeous. I was running everything with a GTX 1080 on ultra, and had no issues except for a couple areas that decided to drop frames. This was the same for playing in VR, and really these frame drops in VR are detrimental to the experience. I’ve never been motion sick, but many people have issues with frame drops in VR in causing motion sickness, so your mileage may vary. Personally, the couple areas that had issues were corrected almost immediately and I didn’t see this as a huge problem.
The game itself is beautiful, however, and everything about the atmosphere outside the “bubble” you are in to the layout of the town was well thought out. There are a few weird environmental things, like a lack of interactable objects when you see a bench with items on it for example, but this doesn’t take away from the game or immersion in my personal experience.
The audio in this game is another big hit with me, to the point I’m considering purchasing the soundtrack. You get this ominous feeling walking around this deserted town, and when “listening” to the various holograms you can hear a sort of static or computer generated audio file being played which was pretty awesome for the theme. When you get close to the borders of the town, there is a barrier of some kind that resembles a forcefield, and walking into it gives you a great effect as well. Overall, I really have to commend the devs for the sound effects and music within the game.
Replay ability is a little hard for me to judge at this point because I haven’t beat the game yet, however I was told there are multiple endings to experience. However, these endings don’t require a complete playthrough to happen a second time, as you can load a save and get the other endings if needed. I haven’t beaten the game yet myself so I can’t speak on this too much, but the story seems to be one that if you wanted to go back through again, you can still enjoy it.
Overall, I definitely have to recommend Obduction if you are into open world puzzle adventure games like this. The Witness had more puzzling mechanics in terms of physical puzzles, however if you like games like that which make you think, or you’re old enough to have played Myst, you will love this. If you are unsure or new to these titles, I think you’ll still enjoy the story and unraveling the mystery of this town and what happened to your character, but you may want to look for a sale as the price is $30.
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